“End of a Long Week” or “The Beginning of a Much Needed Vacation”

Sometimes life is about perspective. So it’s Friday and I am finally done with a long week. It is amazing how many Judges actually worked this week.

Tuesday, I had 9 cases set in the morning. All with the same Judge, but still spent 3 1/2 hours in her courtroom. Got some nice deals in the process and ended up continuing a few cases. Crazy morning. That was followed by a suppression hearing in the Hugo Black Federal Courthouse that lasted from 1:30 until almost 3:00. Just enough time to drive to school and pick up my son and drive him home before heading back to the office and then night court. Finished up my day with a municipal court probation revocation that lasted until 7:00. Both client and lawyer were happy to exit the building.

I travelled to Limestone County on Wednesday. That meant leaving my house at 5:00 am for the 2 hour drive to Athens, Alabama. Judge had specially set my case at 8:00 am so that my expert witness would not have to sit around all morning waiting for my client’s hearing. I was also told this would allow us to get the hearing in before he started his regular docket at 9:00. Amazing how quite a courthouse can be when the only people in the building are you and the Sheriff’s deputies working security at the front door.

Well, needless to say, my client was brought into court with 15 other orange clad inmates from the county jail at 8:10 followed by the Judge and DA. The DA (very nice guy), seeing my expert in court decided that he would need to get an expert also and moved to continue the hearing. Beautiful day for a drive to Athens, huh.

Thursday started off to be a slow day that included the office Christmas party. Looking forward to a nice meal with a few adult beverages. That was, until I got that call from federal court advising me that a client had been arrested on a supervised release violation and was set for a hearing at 3:30 that afternoon. I figured the hearing would last 15 minutes since it was just an initial appearance on the revocation. Little did I know that I would not leave the federal building until after 5:15 following a rather unusual spur of the moment detention hearing. No court reporter, no pre-trial services report and no opportunity to get witnesses in court to support our request for bond. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants. Unfortunately, my client did not get to leave the courthouse with me.

Friday was supposed to be easy. The Friday before Christmas. Only a couple of traffic cases to handle in Birmingham Municipal Court. What should have taken 30 minutes to handle, lasted over 2 hours. By the time that I left I was ready for lunch and the weekend to begin.

So, what was today? The end of a long week or the beginning of a much needed vacation?

My vote – the beginning of a much needed vacation. No court next week. Christmas. Family. Time to kick back and give thanks for the year that was and start thinking about the year that will be. But not until I spend a week relaxing and enjoying my family.

Talk with you again next year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

I Don’t Understand

I am at a complete and utter loss to make sense out of the events in Newtown, Conn. yesterday.

These are our children. Little angels sent by God to enrich our lives and help us grow as people.

Yes, evil exits in this world. I have seen evil in the courtroom on only 2 occasions in my nearly 20 years of practicing criminal defense. But Evil is not the real problem. It is an anomaly. Evil did not kill the children in Newtown or the movie goers in Colorado.

Yes, guns kill. That is their intended purpose. That is what they do. Banning all guns is not the answer and does not solve the problem. 22 children were attacked in a Chinese school by a man carrying a knife.

The world is a different place than it was 30 or 40 years ago when I was a child. We have lost contact with the simple things in life. We can no longer walk home from school without worrying about what might be around the next corner. We cannot go outside and play until our mother calls us into the house for dinner because we are afraid of the dark and what might be lurking there.

Is GOD the answer? I don’t know. Prayer is a powerful thing. But not if you are going to stop praying when the media coverage ends.

The world has changed for the worse. We have forgotten how to communicate with each other. We have forgotten our brothers and sisters who are sick and hurting. We turn a blind eye far to often to the mentally ill, homeless, and those in need in our communities.

We all need to step outside of our personal comfort zones and look at what is happening in our homes, our schools, our communities and our work places. We need to seek out the people who are hurting in our lives. We need to help those who have lost hope find some meaning and purpose again.

I think that desperation and despair, not Evil is to blame for these random acts of insanity. We must come together as a country, as a community, as a people and find a way to make things better.

I don’t know what the answer is, but am open to suggestions.

New Blog. Same Criminal Defense Life

Today is the first day with my new WordPress blog site.

Today was a really good day until I got THAT CALL from THAT CLIENT.

We all have one of those clients.  Whether you practice criminal defense or some other area of law.  We all have that client who just pushes our buttons and gets our blood pressure boiling.

The kind of client that thinks they are smarter than you.

The kind of client who thinks that they could present the case to a judge or jury better than you.

The kind of client that wants to be in control of every aspect of the case.

The kind of client who blames the lawyer when he ends of being convicted after giving an hour and a half video taped interview with local and federal law enforcement agents.

The kind of client who admits each and every element of the offense in response questioning by local and federal law enforcement agents during his Mirandized video taped interview.

The kind of client who wants to know what you are going to do to help them, right after they tell you how you managed to screw up the defense of their case.

Well needless to say that conversation went about as expected and completely ruined my afternoon.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.